Furnishing your yard with bluebird feeders and houses is a sure way to attract bluebirds to move into your neighborhood. Bluebird houses are mounted on poles rather than in trees to make them more attractive to bluebirds than to other types of birds. Once installed, you'll need to take steps to protect the little guys from predators like cats, snakes and raccoons. A baffle is an effective solution you place below a bluebird house on a pole. It's a simple device that will confound marauding cats or 'coons and keep them out of bluebird houses.
Lay the mesh hardware cloth flat on a surface such as a countertop or workbench.
Mark a center point on the cloth with the marker. Use the tape measure to mark out an 8-inch-diameter circle by placing the 4-inch line of the tape measure on the center point you marked on the cloth and marking the staring end of the tape measure and the 8 inch point with the marker, then moving the tape measure in a clockwise fashion, marking about every inch, until you have a 8-inch-diameter dashed circle.
Cut the circle out of the hardware cloth with the tin snips.
Create a small hole out of the center of the 8-inch-diameter circle of cloth with the tin snips, using the center mark you initially made with the marker as a reference point. Make it large enough to slip over your mounting pole.
Center the hardware cloth circle over one end of the stovepipe and press down to create a concave cap that fits securely just inside the pipe. Push the cap down into the pipe about an inch.
Cut three tabs spaced evenly into the top edge of the stovepipe using the tin snips. You can estimate the spacing by sight; you don't need to use the tape measure for accuracy.
Bend the tabs inward. This will hold the hardware cloth circle in place from the top. The next step will create a bracket that will hold the mesh from the bottom.
Fold the strips of hanger iron in half. Hanger iron comes in rolls, so your strips won't be bent, but you need to create the brackets for the baffle to sit on. Bend them at the halfway point to create upside-down L's.
Drill a hole in your mounting pole at the point you want your baffle to rest.
Attach the strips of hanger iron to opposite sides of the bluebird house mounting pole. Insert a bolt into one piece of the hanger iron in one of the holes closest to its middle, then insert the bolt through the hole you drilled on the pole. Slide the other hanger iron bracket onto the end of the bolt -- on the other side of the pole -- and use a nut to secure the entire bracket in place. This is what the baffle will sit on; it will also keep the hardware cloth from falling through the bottom.
Slide the baffle over the bluebird house mounting pole, slipping the pole through the hole you cut in the center of the hardware cloth. It should come to rest on the hanger iron brackets.
Items you will need
- Tin snips
- Tape measure
- 1/4-inch mesh hardware cloth
- machine screws with nuts
- Stovepipe, 7 inches in diameter and 24 inches long
- Two 7-inch strips of hanger iron
- Don't secure the baffle to the hanger iron brackets. You want the baffle to wobble to dissuade predators from climbing under or over it.
- Make sure no gaps exist between the stovepipe and the mesh circle to ensure snakes won't slither through.
- You can find commercial gum resin products at feed-and-seed or home-and-garden stores. They don't deter snakes, but applied to the pole under the baffle they can further discourage predators from attempting to raid the bluebird house.
- Purple martins are attracted to homes on poles, and this baffle will serve a purple martin house, too, or any house or feeder mounted on a pole.
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